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Answers To All Your Mobile Questions [Interview]

Lindsey LaManna

woman using mobile phone at workAs the use and development of mobile devices and applications in the business world continues to rapidly expand, almost every company, large or small, is considering how to they can take advantage of expanding mobile technology.

More and more companies are recognizing the power of mobility to increase workers’ productivity and enable them to respond quickly to market changes and opportunities as they arise.

To learn more about how mobile is enabling businesses to run like never before, I interviewed Randy Sell, Director of Solution Engineering at SAP.  Randy manages a team of solution engineers that provide product demos and technical support for SAP’s mobility products.  With his extensive expertise in business and technology, specializing in mobility, he was able to provide some valuable insight into how mobile is transforming the workplace.

1) So your career has spanned over 5 decades.  What are some of the biggest technology changes that you’ve seen during that time?

Wow, I feel ancient when you put it in those terms.  When I look back, I see technology enabling me to be far more productive and having more freedom to work outside the office.  Back in the 1970’s and 1980’s, the only computer access we had were terminals tied to the mainframe computer.  When you logged off at night, you lost access to your business data until you arrived at work the next morning.

During the 1990’s I was given a laptop (a 40 pound IBM huggable luggable) and then a mobile phone with voicemail, which began to expand my access to business data when not in the office.  I started working from a home office during the 1990’s, which gave me more time with my young family.  By far the biggest change has come in the past few years, with the explosion of mobile technology, faster internet access and apps.

2) Expand on that a bit.  What benefits does mobility have from a business perspective?

It’s all about speed and ease of use.  Work activities that used to take 10-15 minutes can now be done very simply in a few minutes.  Information is shared and received instantly through email or text.  With mobility, you don’t have to shut down once you leave the office – you become easier to reach.

That allows me to get more done in less time, be more responsive, leaving more time for a personal life.  The challenge is deciding when to turn off your mobile device and stop working.  This becomes especially difficult at times in the year when you feel you have to be available 24/7.

Mobile applications with analytic capabilities also provide tremendous benefits by giving workers access to data in real time.  As a manager I can use sales apps to see what the sales pipeline looks like in real-time. This information wasn’t available to me up until recently. Now I have access to current data on an iPad to view anywhere.

3) Do these benefits apply to only large enterprises or can small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) take advantage of mobile technology as well?  What are the implications and benefits of mobile for SMEs?

I previously worked in a small company with only 70 employees and I can tell you that their desire to get to information quickly is no different than larger companies.  Fast access to data has benefits for any size company.   Every business has the same need to make better decisions and values personal time for employees just as much.

Larger companies in some ways actually are faced with more challenges than a SME. They typically have the difficulty of dealing with multi(s), (multi-language, multi-plant, multi-currencies), while SME companies do not.

4) What about from an industry perspective? Is mobile having a larger impact on certain industries?

Industries that have service technicians, especially on the road, and remote sales employees benefit the most from mobility.  Industries where everyone is working in the office may not have as critical of a need for mobility.

5) Mobile has been sparking some big changes in the retail industry.  Can you comment on that?

As a consumer, I see the world of retail making some radical changes in order to make it faster and easier and to conduct business.

For example, cash registers are being replaced by mobile devices that can process transactions instantly anywhere.  Using mobile technology, like Square Up, allows you to swipe a credit card on your smartphone or tablet and email a receipt to the purchaser.  Mobile technology is impacting both consumers and businesses, and I’m certain that it will have a larger and larger impact over time.

6) Can you give us an example or two of how technology and apps helps you save time?

Sure. Two come to mind off the top of my head.

Time and Expense reports used to be a 100% manual exercise.  We moved to completing expense reports by scanning receipts and attaching them to electronic expense reports, which actually took longer to finish than manually writing reports and mailing in receipts.  Now, I take pictures of all my receipts and complete my expense reports using an Expense App, before I ever get home.  That saves about 30-45 minutes for each trip.

The other big winner has been the use of mobile workflow.  From approving vacations to approving PO’s, everything is so much faster today.  As a manager I can respond much quicker to my team with mobile workflow solutions in place.  It’s hard to remember operating like we did in the “old days”.

7) Many businesses are still hesitant to adopt a mobile strategy.  What are the risks associated with increased mobility and how can you mitigate them?

People in many businesses are risk averse and tend to be laggards for adopting new technology.  Certain industries tend to be slow to adopt changes for a number of reasons including a fear that mobility will compromise data security.  The medical industry comes to mind.  Medical had been an industry still keeping virtually all paper medical records until recently.

Businesses and institutions are becoming more comfortable and confident with data residing outside of their firewalls.  The mobility wave has arrived, and there is really no going back.  Sometimes it takes a new employee with a fresh perspective to question the status quo. Businesses get stuck in old habits and need to be convinced to invest in new technologies.

8) From your perspective, Randy, what mobile technology trends do you see on the horizon?

While it is difficult to project too far into the future, several changes are beginning to impact how I do my job.  First is the move to real-time access to large amounts of data.  Information that used to be run through a data warehouse and put on a weekly report for me is now available through mobile devices in near real-time.  This type of access will allow me to make better decisions faster.

The other trend I am seeing is the move from portable computers to portable tablet devices.  As tablets become more robust, I see the day coming soon when I won’t even need a PC.  All the data I need will be housed somewhere on a cloud, and accessed from my phone or tablet at lightning speed.  How the world of work has changed since the 1970’s.  I am very excited to be a part of the future of technology.

For more information about mobility is enabling employees to become more productive at their jobs by using mobile technology, take a look at this short video.

Randy Sell

Randy Sell is the Director of Solution Engineering at SAP, managing a team of solution engineers that provide product demos and technical support for SAP’s mobility products. He has been a solution engineer for over 18 years now and also has 15 years of experience in supply chain management. His career started in 1979 as a Production Control Analyst.

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About Lindsey LaManna

Lindsey LaManna is a Marketing Manager at SAP. Her specialties include social media marketing, marketing strategy, and marketing communications.

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Why 3D Printed Food Just Transformed Your Supply Chain

Hans Thalbauer

Numerous sectors are experimenting with 3D printing, which has the potential to disrupt many markets. One that’s already making progress is the food industry.

The U.S. Army hopes to use 3D printers to customize food for each soldier. NASA is exploring 3D printing of food in space. The technology could eventually even end hunger around the world.

What does that have to do with your supply chain? Quite a bit — because 3D printing does more than just revolutionize the production process. It also requires a complete realignment of the supply chain.

And the way 3D printing transforms the supply chain holds lessons for how organizations must reinvent themselves in the new era of the extended supply chain.

Supply chain spaghetti junction

The extended supply chain replaces the old linear chain with not just a network, but a network of networks. The need for this network of networks is being driven by four key factors: individualized products, the sharing economy, resource scarcity, and customer-centricity.

To understand these forces, imagine you operate a large restaurant chain, and you’re struggling to differentiate yourself against tough competition. You’ve decided you can stand out by delivering customized entrees. In fact, you’re going to leverage 3D printing to offer personalized pasta.

With 3D printing technology, you can make one-off pasta dishes on the fly. You can give customers a choice of ingredients (gluten-free!), flavors (salted caramel!), and shapes (Leaning Towers of Pisa!). You can offer the personalized pasta in your restaurants, in supermarkets, and on your ecommerce website.

You may think this initiative simply requires you to transform production. But that’s just the beginning. You also need to re-architect research and development, demand signals, asset management, logistics, partner management, and more.

First, you need to develop the matrix of ingredients, flavors, and shapes you’ll offer. As part of that effort, you’ll have to consider health and safety regulations.

Then, you need to shift some of your manufacturing directly into your kitchens. That will also affect packaging requirements. Logistics will change as well, because instead of full truckloads, you’ll be delivering more frequently, with more variety, and in smaller quantities.

Next, you need to perfect demand signals to anticipate which pasta variations in which quantities will come through which channels. You need to manage supply signals source more kinds of raw materials in closer to real time.

Last, the source of your signals will change. Some will continue to come from point of sale. But others, such as supplies replenishment and asset maintenance, can come direct from your 3D printers.

Four key ingredients of the extended supply chain

As with our pasta scenario, the drivers of the extended supply chain require transformation across business models and business processes. First, growing demand for individualized products calls for the same shifts in R&D, asset management, logistics, and more that 3D printed pasta requires.

Second, as with the personalized entrees, the sharing economy integrates a network of partners, from suppliers to equipment makers to outsourced manufacturing, all electronically and transparently interconnected, in real time and all the time.

Third, resource scarcity involves pressures not just on raw materials but also on full-time and contingent labor, with the necessary skills and flexibility to support new business models and processes.

And finally, for personalized pasta sellers and for your own business, it all comes down to customer-centricity. To compete in today’s business environment and to meet current and future customer expectations, all your operations must increasingly revolve around rapidly comprehending and responding to customer demand.

Want to learn more? Check out my recent video on digitalizing the extended supply chain.

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Hans Thalbauer

About Hans Thalbauer

Hans Thalbauer is the Senior Vice President, Extended Supply Chain, at SAP. He is responsible for the strategic direction and the Go-To-Market of solutions for Supply Chain, Logistics, Engineering/R&D, Manufacturing, Asset Management and Sustainability at SAP.

How to Design a Flexible, Connected Workspace 

John Hack, Sam Yen, and Elana Varon

SAP_Digital_Workplace_BRIEF_image2400x1600_2The process of designing a new product starts with a question: what problem is the product supposed to solve? To get the right answer, designers prototype more than one solution and refine their ideas based on feedback.

Similarly, the spaces where people work and the tools they use are shaped by the tasks they have to accomplish to execute the business strategy. But when the business strategy and employees’ jobs change, the traditional workspace, with fixed walls and furniture, isn’t so easy to adapt. Companies today, under pressure to innovate quickly and create digital business models, need to develop a more flexible work environment, one in which office employees have the ability to choose how they work.

SAP_Digital_Emotion_BRIEF_image175pxWithin an office building, flexibility may constitute a variety of public and private spaces, geared for collaboration or concentration, explains Amanda Schneider, a consultant and workplace trends blogger. Or, she adds, companies may opt for customizable spaces, with moveable furniture, walls, and lighting that can be adjusted to suit the person using an unassigned desk for the day.

Flexibility may also encompass the amount of physical space the company maintains. Business leaders want to be able to set up operations quickly in new markets or in places where they can attract top talent, without investing heavily in real estate, says Sande Golgart, senior vice president of corporate accounts with Regus.

Thinking about the workspace like a designer elevates decisions about the office environment to a strategic level, Golgart says. “Real estate is beginning to be an integral part of the strategy, whether that strategy is for collaborating and innovating, driving efficiencies, attracting talent, maintaining higher levels of productivity, or just giving people more amenities to create a better, cohesive workplace,” he says. “You will see companies start to distance themselves from their competition because they figured out the role that real estate needs to play within the business strategy.”

The SAP Center for Business Insight program supports the discovery and development of  new research-­based thinking to address the challenges of business and technology executives.

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Sam Yen

About Sam Yen

Sam Yen is the Chief Design Officer for SAP and the Managing Director of SAP Labs Silicon Valley. He is focused on driving a renewed commitment to design and user experience at SAP. Under his leadership, SAP further strengthens its mission of listening to customers´ needs leading to tangible results, including SAP Fiori, SAP Screen Personas and SAP´s UX design services.

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Why New Technology Has An Adoption Problem

Danielle Beurteaux

When 3D printing became a practical reality, in the sense that the actual printers became more efficient, less expensive, and more accessible to the average consumer, there was an assumption that the consumer 3D printing market was going to take off. We’d all have printers at home printing…. what? Our clothes? Toys? Spare organs?

That has yet to happen. 3D printing company MakerBot just went through its second employee layoff this year, driven by a market that’s developing much slower than predicted.

That same thinking is in play with a somewhat more prosaic technology – digital wallets. Apple Pay was released this year, as was Samsung Pay. There’s also Google’s Android Pay. During an earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook said: “We are more confident than ever that 2015 will be the year of Apple Pay.” But that expectation has yet to be realized, at least vis-à-vis consumers.

Consumers aren’t using any of the digital wallets en masse. According to Bloomberg, payments made via mobile wallets – all of them – make up a mere 1% of retail purchases in the U.S. The reason is that consumers just don’t see a compelling reason to use them. There’s no real reward for them to change from SOP.

Both these instances highlight a problem with assumptions about mass adoption for new technology – just because it’s cool, interesting, and accessible doesn’t mean a market-worthy mass of people will use it.

Who is more likely to use mobile wallets? Emerging economies without a stable financial and banking systems. In those environments, digital payments present a more secure and quicker method for purchasing. These are the same areas where mobile adoption leapfrogged older technologies because there was a lack of telecommunications infrastructure, i.e. many never had a landline phone to begin with, and they went directly to mobile. The value-add already exists. (But there are also security issues, to which consumers are becoming more sensitive. A hack of Samsung’s U.S. subsidiary LoopPay network was uncovered five months post-hack. Although one was expert quoted as saying the hackers may not have been interested in selling consumer financial info but instead in tracking individuals.)

Here’s some interesting data and a good point made: mobile payments are most popular in situations where the buyer already has his or her phone in hand and the transaction is made even quicker than swiping plastic. For example, purchases made for London Transit rides are responsible for a good portion of the U.K.’s mobile payments.

Mass technology adoption is no longer driven simply by the release of a new product. There are too many products released constantly now, the market is too diverse, and the products often lack a true raison d’être.

Learn more about how creative and innovative companies are finding their customers. Read Compelling Shopping Moments: 4 Creative Ways Stores Connect With Their Customers.

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Mobile Marketing Continues To Explode

Daniel Newman

If your brand isn’t among those planning a significant spend on mobile marketing in 2016, you need to stop treating it like a fad and step up to meet your competition. Usage statistics show that today people live and work while on the move, and the astronomical rise of mobile ad spending proves it.

According to eMarketer, ad spending experienced triple-digit growth in 2013 and 2014. While it’s slowed in 2015, don’t let that fool you: Mobile ad spending was $19.2 billion in 2013, and eMarketer’s forecast for next year is $101.37 billion—51 percent of the digital market.

  1. Marketers follow consumer behavior, and consumers rely on their mobile devices. The latest findings from show that two-third of Americans are now smartphone owners. Around the world, there are two billion smartphone users and, particularly in developing regions, eMarketer notes “many consumers are accessing the internet mobile-first and mobile-only.”
  2. The number of mobile users has already surpassed the number of desktop users, as has the number of hours people spend on mobile Internet use, and business practices are changing as a result. Even Google has taken notice; earlier this year the search giant rolled out what many referred to as “Mobilegeddon”—an algorithm update that prioritizes mobile-optimized sites.

The implications are crystal clear: To ignore mobile is to ignore your customers. If your customers can’t connect with you via mobile—whether through an ad, social, or an optimized web experience—they’ll move to a competitor they can connect with.

Consumers prefer mobile — and so should you

Some people think mobile marketing has made things harder for marketers. In some ways, it has: It’s easy to make missteps in a constantly changing landscape.

At the same time, however, modern brands can now reach customers at any time of the day, wherever they are, as more than 90 percent of users now have a mobile device within arm’s reach 24/7. This has changed marketing, allowing brands to build better and more personalized connections with their fans.

  • With that extra nudge from Google, beating your competition and showing up in search by having a website optimized for devices of any size is essential.
  • Search engine optimization (SEO) helps people find you online; SEO integration for mobile is even more personalized, hyper local, and targeted to an individual searcher.
  • In-app advertisements put your brand in front of an engaged audience.
  • Push messages keep customers “in the know” about offers, discounts, opportunities for loyalty points, and so much more.

And don’t forget about the power of apps, whose usage takes up 85 percent of the total time consumers spend on their smartphones. Brands like Nike and Starbucks are excellent examples of how to leverage the power of being carried around in someone’s pocket.

Personal computers have never been able to offer such a targeted level of reach. We’ve come to a point where marketing without mobile isn’t really marketing at all.

Mobile marketing tools are on the upswing too

As more mobile-empowered consumers themselves from their desks to the street, the rapid rise of mobile shows no signs of slowing down. This is driving more investment into mobile marketing solutions and programs.

According to VentureBeat’s Mobile Success Landscape, mobile engagement—which includes mobile marketing automation—is second only to app analytics in terms of investment. Mobile marketing has become a universe unto itself, one that businesses are eager to measure more effectively.

Every day, mobile marketing is becoming ever more critical for businesses. Brands that fail to incorporate mobile into their ad, content, and social campaigns will be left wondering where their customers have gone.

 

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The post Mobile Marketing Continues to Explode appeared first on Millennial CEO.

photo credit: Samsung Galaxy S3 via photopin (license)
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About Daniel Newman

Daniel Newman serves as the Co-Founder and CEO of EC3, a quickly growing hosted IT and Communication service provider. Prior to this role Daniel has held several prominent leadership roles including serving as CEO of United Visual. Parent company to United Visual Systems, United Visual Productions, and United GlobalComm; a family of companies focused on Visual Communications and Audio Visual Technologies. Daniel is also widely published and active in the Social Media Community. He is the Author of Amazon Best Selling Business Book "The Millennial CEO." Daniel also Co-Founded the Global online Community 12 Most and was recognized by the Huffington Post as one of the 100 Business and Leadership Accounts to Follow on Twitter. Newman is an Adjunct Professor of Management at North Central College. He attained his undergraduate degree in Marketing at Northern Illinois University and an Executive MBA from North Central College in Naperville, IL. Newman currently resides in Aurora, Illinois with his wife (Lisa) and his two daughters (Hailey 9, Avery 5). A Chicago native all of his life, Newman is an avid golfer, a fitness fan, and a classically trained pianist